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Physician educators in the IU School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation participate in the training of medical students as well as resident physicians and fellows as they pursue a career as a physiatrist. This specialty seeks to restore a person’s functional capacity to the fullest extent possible. The major divisions of the field are musculoskeletal medicine, inpatient rehabilitation and electrodiagnosis.
Working as Physiatrists
After training, physicians in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, known as physiatrists, typically choose a solo practice or a group setting-partnership, multispecialty group, hospital-based or HMO. Affiliations may be with an academic institution, a private community hospital or clinic, a VA hospital, or a free-standing rehab facility. The practice may consist of solely outpatient care (such as a sports medicine clinic), inpatient care (hospital stroke unit), or a combination of both. In many cases, the patient population for this area of medicine is referral-based and the physiatrist initially functions in a consulting role. Referrals typically come from neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, neurology, oncology, vascular surgery, cardiology, rheumatology, trauma and internal medicine. If a patient is admitted into an inpatient rehab unit, the physiatrist may then assume more of a primary care role. The primary professional organization for this area of medicine is the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R).